Jockey Club Interactive Registration

Body Markings and Acquired Markings Help

Body Markings

Odd body markings should be described as to color, size and location. Examples of this include DARK SPOTS in the horse's coat, a large DARK PATCH on the body or a large WHITE PATCH on the body.

Sometimes SCATTERED WHITE HAIRS can be found on the horse's body. Examples of this include SCATTERED WHITE HAIRS ON BARREL, IN FLANKS, AT ROOT OF TAIL or THROUGHOUT COAT.


Indentations in muscles just under the skin which are easily seen and are permanent. They are usually found at the point of one or both shoulders and in the neck muscles.

Acquired Markings

Markings that have been produced after birth are considered acquired markings. Tattoos, scars and firing marks are the most common examples.

MICROCHIPS - When used in conjunction with other current means of identification, such as markings, genetic typing, color photographs, and lip tattoos, microchips can provide additional confidence when identifying a Thoroughbred. Please note that Microchips are not a requirement to register a Thoroughbred.

TATTOO - The tattoo is a letter and a group of numbers applied to the underside of the upper lip. Imported horses have an asterisk rather than a letter in their tattoo. Sometimes horses may be found with tattoos on their lower lip.

SCARS - Many scars are permanent and can be seen throughout the life of the horse; they should therefore be noted.

FIRING MARKS -The operation of firing the legs of a horse leaves permanent scars.


Certain horses are born having specific characteristics which are useful in distinguishing one from another. When present they should be added to the identification notes. Following are some of the more common ones:

LOP-EARED - A lop-eared horse does not carry his ears erect, they usually hang at a 45 or 90 degree angle.

ROMAN-NOSED - Convex area between the eyes and the muzzle.

WALL-EYE - Awall-eyed horse is onethat has a light blue or pinkish iris rather than the usual brown. Other terms are watch-eye or glass-eye.

PARROT-MOUTH - Upperteeth extend forward beyond the lower (overshot).

SWAY-BACK - An exaggerated concavity between the withers and the rump.

ROACH-BACK - A definite convex area in the loin region.

PIGEON-TOED - Hoofs pointed inward and towards each other (toes in).

SPLAY-FOOTED - Hoofs pointed outward and away from each other (toes out).

KNEE-SPRUNG - Knees bent forward when viewed from the side. Other terms are over at the knees or bench-kneed.

CALF-KNEES - Knees bent back and in towards each other. The opposite of Knee-Sprung. Another term is back on his knees.